Why I heart Preston Bailey: Thoughts on Mentoring…

February 23rd, 2010 in Mentoring, Preston Bailey

As a new “formal” event planner and stationary designer this resonates with me on so many levels.  I have spent countless upon countless hours, days, months,  etc researching every aspect of my business well before I begun my business. And you know what? I still have questions and I’m still learning something new every day. I love that!  I love that I have worked hard to find the answers and put in the time to learn and hone my craft but I do find times where I wished I had a mentor. I wish that I could bounce ideas or questions off of someone experienced in the industry. Most seasoned planners don’t want to answer your questions or feel threaten. If they had to learn the hard way, so do you.   I do believe that there is a fine line between asking for everything so you don’t have to do the work yourself and asking for a little guidance or feedback on something.    Don’t get me wrong, I do have a group of colleagues that I can rely on when I have a question here or there, but having a mentor that wants to see me succeed and not concerned about “the competition”, would have been wonderful.

This is why I love Preston Bailey!  Here he gives us his thoughts on mentoring and now the workshop that he offers to other planners in the industry.  Did I say I love Preston Bailey yet?

Please visit his site for more details on his workshop, which I hope one day to attend.
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As written by Preston Bailey……..

Being self-taught and having learned many lessons over the years (sometimes the hard way), sometimes I wonder how different it would have been if I had a mentor. There’s nothing wrong with figuring things out for yourself, but having a person to help guide you and teach you what they’ve learned certainly doesn’t hurt.

A picture of me from a past speaking engagement

I’m constantly getting requests for mentorship, but my schedule is so hectic that it’s hard to fulfill each individual request so I’ve thought carefully about offering a workshop. The most important aspect is how to offer a workshop that is different from the others.

I asked my good friend and great planner, Marcy Blum,  to join me in the effort. We wanted to create a learning environment that would be intimate and interactive. A workshop that offered one on one lessons not just on designing events, but the nuts and bolts of the business and the different pieces involved in producing the final product.

Marcy and me

For example, one of the most essential parts of my team is having a fantastic planner on board. Yet, I often find myself trying to explain to clients the necessity of having a great and experienced planner for the job.  Over the years, the line between designers, production and planners has become blurred.

Here’s a summary of the differences:

  • Designers: We do exactly that…we design anything and everything that has to do with visual decor: flowers, table cloths, staging, room decor, lighting, food presentation, theatrical design, table settings, etc.  This, of course, is the main job I do in my company (in addition to being a kick-ass sales man).
  • Production: After a job is completely designed, presented to and approved by our clients, then comes the most challenging part:  producing the visual design into the real world in an effective, timely and cost-conscious manner.  The production process is always a  ”work in progress.” As my company grows and we do jobs in America and all over the word, this becomes more difficult yet exciting.
  • Planning: Years ago when I first started, I tried planning myself.  One day, after making 10 phone calls to organize one meeting, I realized how challenging and time consuming this job is. In my opinion, most clients do not have the slightest idea of the time, patience and detail that goes into to a planner’s job (and folks you’re not just a planner because you call yourself one–you need the experience to back up the claim).  Planners do not have a specific product like flowers or dresses. What they sell is mostly their amazing organizational skills, their experience in getting the job done and wearing many, many different hats.
I’d like to thank all of you for the overwhelming interest we received when we announced BAILEY AND BLUM’S first workshop.  At first I thought we’d have a class of 40, however after hearing your requests of what you’d like to learn,  we thought the workshop should have more of a one on one component to it.  So, because of the workshop timing (it’s just one weekend), we’d like to invite only 20 participants to the mentoring weekend.
At the moment I am overseas working, however Marcy and I we’ll be finalizing all requests this coming week when I get back.  If you are interested,  please send in your application in the next few days. You can find the application here.

I look forward to sharing with you secrets, stories and some of the downfalls I’ve experienced in hopes that you don’t repeat them.

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hello lovely

Welcome to the blog! I’m Ebony Sparkes and I am southern belle wedding and event planner serving the DMV. I love LOVE and celebrating all of life’s special occasions and this is why I became an event planner. I have been fortunate to plan amazing celebrations in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., New York, Georgia, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic!

Our work has been featured by several industry icons like Preston Bailey, Amy Atlas, Hostess with the Mostess and Munaluchi Bridal.  Sparkling Events & Designs, LLC is also a recipient of Wedding Wire’s 2011 & 2012 Bride’s Choice Award, The Knot’sTM Best of Wedding Vendors for 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015 and an active member of the Association of Wedding Professionals.

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Founded in 2010, our mission was to celebrate life's special occasions, all of them. Today, we love working on all events big and small. We have a passion for designing events and stationery that are truly reflective of who you are. Contact us today to get started.